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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

What is a scar revision?

Updated: October 1st, 2018

scar revision dog cancer surgeryWhen a veterinarian or oncologist diagnoses canine cancer, often a surgery is done to remove the cancer cells. Surgery remains one of the cornerstones of cancer treatment in dogs.

With surgery, if all things go very well, your veterinary surgeon may be able to completely remove the cancer.  This may mean a cure is reached, and the cancer will never come back again.

Other times though, the surgery may be less successful.

Your veterinarian may report that the tumor cells were left in the tissue surrounding the tumor site.  Often, guardians will wonder how this is possible.

The way this comes about is that malignant cancers send out cells into the neighborhood which are invisible to the surgeon’s naked eye.  The veterinarian is able to see the tumor or the growth many times, yet the tissue around the growth (containing microscopic cancer cells) appears normal.

When this happens, a scar revision surgery should occur.

A scar revision is when the surgeon returns to the first surgery site where the incision is healing, forming a scar.  Then, more tissue around the scar is removed in an effort to take any remaining cancer cells.

Although this is not preferred for any guardian, sometimes it is needed.  And in some cases in can be life saving.

For more details on treating cancer in dogs, check out the Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

Leave a Comment

  1. Norma Aguilar on June 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Dr. Dressler,
    Our 13 year old yellow lab has already had 2 surgeries this year for liposarcoma growth removals from his back, one in Jan and one at the end of March 2011. When a 3rd growth appeared in the same relative area, we weighted his life expectancy vs. quality of life. We decided not to put him through any further conventional treatment. We purchased your book and found a holistic/conventional veterinarian who has him on many different types of supplements. The main growth is the size of a baseball protruding upwards. He developed a smaller side growth and this became very irritated and started bleeding from an area where the vet knicked him while shaving. A whole bunch of white stuff came out and the vet said this is good. It continued bleeding overnight and today she lasered it to close the nerve endings, and it looks like a small crater. It is still bleeding a bit.
    At her recommendation, we have been putting golden yellow salve on the growth(s) and the area feels very warm to the touch. She said that this growth will also eventually rupture with the continued use of this salve. If this occurs, this will mean a large area of flesh will be exposed, how can we care for our dog if this occurs? Does this repair itself? And what about infections? Ongoing bleeding?
    Our dog still has his happy disposition. What are we doing to him…


    • DemianDressler on June 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      Dear Norma, hang in there. It can be very difficult to handle these but if you sit tight most of the time things will quiet. Your vet should go over the nursing plan with you but keeping it clean, disinfected, free of infection, and prohibiting licking can help a lot. I assume you have read all the steps in the Guide and are using apocaps to help?
      Dr D

  2. Maciej on June 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Would you still recommend it for anal gland cancer after 20 sessions of radiation and upcoming chemo? I am asking you since you are very open for any treatment possibilities. I am shocked to know how many vets I deal with have no idea about non-traditional treatments. They do not know anything about Apocaps, Atremisin, Robert McDowell’s herbs, etc. Thanks for your great ideas, which are very encouraging.

  3. barbara harris on June 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I have recently read that mushrooms and garlic are not good for dogs. Supposedly with garlic, it can cause a type of anemia. What is your knowledge on this Thank you. My dog Macy is on your apocaps, and is also following most of your advice in your book. she had her leg amputated in December for Ossteosarcoma, but I opted not to have Chemo. Instead I am hoping with all the changes, that she build her own immune system to fight what might have possibly metastisized.
    I would very much like your opinion on the above topic. thanks, Barbara Harris

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